God’s children are called to be wise,
To have prudent minds and eyes.
That they be on guard against deception,
And be aware against vain perception.
Be on guard from start to end,
Against each wicked and false friend.
Make no friends with any one untrue,
Lest trouble and heart break you accrue.
If friends already with an evil one,
Then from that union away you run.
Its better from a bad friendship to get off,
Before others use that as a chance to scoff.
Anti Narcissist series – Part one (Narcissism defined)
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
To avoid a narcissist in your life, you must first know what a narcissist is and take your actions. That’s the difference between a prudent one and those are simpletons or gullible people.
At times, I encounter to people who face issues on being in love with a narcissist. Their sufferings are odd but what’s more odd is that these people can’t seem to keep away from their narcissist fiancé whom they intend to marry. They allow themselves to be the proverbial doormat to their oppressive fiancé. Some of these despite my warnings to cease and desist from continuing with such vile ‘sweethearts’ went on with the relationship, lost a lot of their emotional and physical health. And then they came back to me saying that the fiancé now is not interested in marrying them and how to win back their fiancé. I’d then say to them, good riddance for you, now please go and thank God for this, but the people whose hearts were broken by their narcissist ‘loved’ one were still in disbelief that the break up happened. I late understood this weird attachment as a soul tie.
Narcissism is not limited to only a couple who intend to marry. It could be a vile boss, a despotic dictator, traitors, serial stalkers etc. They don’t just seem to care about whom they have to hurt, just so that it inflates their self image to the clouds.
For those who wonder as to what a Narcissist is, here are two most appropriate definitions:
1. Excessive preoccupation with or admiration of oneself.
2. A personality disorder characterized by self-preoccupation, need for admiration, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem. (source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/narcissist)
Now for those who still don’t get my point, maybe due to fact they could be with only genuinely nice people, let me make it real to you; bad people do exist. About a few years ago, I encountered once such Narcissist. We due to some reason had to be in the same vehicle. And she kept yelling at her fiancé over the phone. Now all of a sudden she was speaking kindly to him. Initially I was not one bit interested in what she was saying, I was more bothered as to why she became polite without dropping a hint. She then told her fiance that, for two minutes they are to be off the phone and he must not call her and only after the actual time is over to call her back. This is the bit that provoked my interest. She held her mobile phone in her hand and also kept looking at her watch to see if two minutes passed by.
Her boyfriend or fiancé I suppose, called her a few seconds before the stipulated two minutes were done with. Immediately, this vile woman unloaded the worst possible insults to her boyfriend and kept asking him to apologize for calling before the two minutes were over. Even after the boyfriend once said sorry to her, she kept demanding that he keep saying sorry over and over again. Finally, she said the only sorry that she will accept is if she given a ‘treat’ of shopping for her whatever she wishes, provided the boyfriend pays the bills.
I was shocked at such behaviour. A gentleman in the same vehicle, once the girl got off, remarked as to once the girl and her fiancé get married it’s going to be an emotional riot in their marriage. I later pondered on the situation and realized that the girl was indeed a narcissist. Suppose if her boyfriend could think of how his actual future would be with her, he could either tactfully correct her or just leave her. Both ways it would set up a non oppressive future for him with her.
I believe that since the Bible warns of narcissism it didn’t do so only for the sake of our reading. It’s something we must pay attention to and also act on.
Does the Bible speak of narcissism?
– Yes it does and elaborates on narcissism very clearly. Here’s what it says:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
Name a few in the Bible are known to be narcissists?
– I’ll mention four such men. Here we go:
- Judas Iscariot
God himself got these four punished in various forms and as per the degree of their sin. At times he did it through his servants on earth, at times by the angels, at times by the narcissists own actions and at times even one on one. (I’ll cover these four in detail in next post of these series) If the Lord knows how to recognize narcissists, shouldn’t we keep guard against such types? Yes, and like I mentioned we need to know what as narcissist is and then take decisive action.
Just because someone looks neat and beautiful doesn’t mean that you should say he or she is a nice person. Understand what their words and actions mean, and you’d know the kind of person they truly are.
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:24)
Christ be with you!
An experience this year that I faced
I recently shared a prayer called ‘Uproot in me every evil seed‘ and then a prayer called ‘Plant in me O Lord’. Now there’s a good reason for it. This year has been quite a dramatic year for me on various fronts. Especially on the spiritual front. So I felt like I better share this one up before the year ends. It’s possible that by knowing this, you too might ask God for the right things in life and elimination of evil from your life.
Just before this year could begin and even right up to April 2015, I’d be encouraged to pray that every evil seed is uprooted from my life. I received such suggestions from various people. Originally, the context of such a praying attitude was to ensure one doesn’t get sick or unwell. However, the field of view expanded. With faith in the Lord Jesus, I kept praying every time there was a call to remove all obstacles that come in the will of God in my life.
Then things started unfolding themselves in my life by the grace of God. I found that evil seeds can also be people, not mere illnesses alone. Suddenly I started noticing some the people who profess the Christian faith and who were good friends and allies of mine at that time for many years, were not all that much into the faith. I mean their view of the Gospel didn’t go by with the true Gospel at all. Let me make it real to you, for starters some believed that once forgiven they do not need to ever repent if they happen sin again. (I’ve already covered this in a much earlier post called as The heresy of pre forgiven sin). And this was surprising to me that they conveniently kept this hidden for a long time from me though they were much aware that I do believe in repentance every time a person sins, not just one time only.
There were another bunch of folks who were of the opinion that God will automatically grant his ‘stamp’ of approval on everything they do, even if meant using deceitful means. For them it was not a case of doing God’s will in their life. It was the opposite, which is their own thoughts and opinions are ‘deemed’ as God’s will for them on the assumption that everything they do is by default approved by the Lord without checking with the Bible. They seemed to conveniently ignore the following verses of the Bible:
- There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 16:25)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Then there was the legalistic brigade which believes that one must fast for almost everything and at every season. Legalism works as a counferfeit of discipline and I surely have had a tough time dealing with such people until I realized that the best way to tackle them is by the Holy Scriptures. And they were the most hostile to deal with but eventually they couldn’t prevail against the principles of the Bible.
I mentioned only three types of deviations in short without going too much in to the specifics, but there are more such deviations from the Gospel I noticed among others this year (again!), which I intend to expose in the future, but these should suffice for now.
A common trend that I noticed among such people is that they were cherry picking Bible verses as per their liking instead of taking the whole of the Bible in context. Besides this they were obsessed with their denominational tags and doctrines far much more than normal. And this led them to label anyone (not just me) as one who is ignorant and in need of their ‘guidance’. Well it didn’t work on me especially when I realized they had an aversion to the teachings of the Epistle of James and also of the Letter to the Hebrews in the Bible. One even said they hate such and such Bible verse and I’d be shocked by such replies. They again ignore the fact that ‘Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5)’. So I also didn’t ignore that they were repeatedly trying to spoil my name in the preaching of the word obviously behind my back since they knew they stand no chance in a debate with me, though I at many times asked for face to face discussion about their points of view. So, I immediately went on guard against them and now they are totally out of my life, for good.
The effect was a lot of peace and joy, which was almost instant. I didn’t realize that they were such a negative influence of me until they actually got removed from my life. I could pray really well again! It came to my mind, that not a single part of me being happy depends on them but it’s only up to the Lord alone. Oddly, I didn’t even have to try too hard. The Lord just made it turn out in such a way that they by their own actions are now in a different direction from me. My only judgement on them was that I won’t be wasting my time on those who hinder my walk with the Lord God. As simple as that!
To those curious about the judgement part I’d suggest that you read a few earlier posts of mine titled Do not judge or do no repent? & Some people seem to read only the words ‘Judge not’ in the Bible. Under those circumstances it had become less of judgement and more of respect to the Lord. One couldn’t remain with such people without them in return attempting to undermine the rightful knowledge of the Gospel.
My own observation was that whatever that I’d ask them to pray for me wouldn’t happen but in fact the reverse would happen. I mean challenges in life would seem to overpower me. But then when they got out of my life, I kept a very basic level of prayer and saw good results. I’d just would read the Bible and then ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand it correctly and then pray as plainly as possible. So the part of the part removing every evil seed prayer, came out well for the glory of God. This was in a way trying to keep only Christ as mediator between myself and God.
There’s the part of planting in one’s life not by one’s own standards but by the will of God. This part is not yet complete but let me say this year as I prayed for the best alliances and friendships in life, the Lord God has indeed given me these things really well. And I know that more is due in the future. It’s just that I was initially more focused on removal of evil. But I know for sure that now in the future, it also needs to be about acceptance of the good things of God by asking in faith.
I do hope that now you know the context of the two prayers about removing evil seeds and planting right seeds and are so are able to pray much better. This doesn’t actually stop at praying effectively alone. It’s more about the will of God going right in your life in terms of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God be with you, always!
A lesson from Eli’s life – correcting others before they cause your downfall
Praise be God who gives wisdom to those who believe in him. We pray that each one who comes to Christ desires to please the Lord God by walking in true wisdom and integrity. May the Holy Spirit reveal to us everything and everyone that we can correct in our lives. Amen
Eli the priest at Shiloh was a priest of the Lord God. He had done some remarkably good deeds such as praying that the barren Hannah gives birth a child and also that the child Samuel comes to know of his prophetic calling for God. Despite all this he didn’t have a happy ending. This is quite a tragedy considering he was a devout man of God in most of his actions except one.
So what went wrong for him?
I answer that by pointing to what the Lord God revealed to the child Samuel which is nothing less than the judgment against Eli’s family. Let’s read the following verses (1 Samuel 3: 8-14) to get the true picture:
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
You might want to read 1 Samuel 3: 8-14 mentioned above once again that the seriousness of the judgment of God against Eli’s family sinks in really well. Just imagine, how would a child react if receives his first ever prophecy and he is told that his mentor’s family is going to be punished because of blasphemy against God. Now, the Lord God didn’t want to keep this child clueless as to why it was going to happen. It was clearly mentioned that Eli was forewarned about the highly immoral behavior of his sons in the house of worship of the Lord God.
So what exactly were Eli’s sons misdeeds?
12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt. (1 Samuel 2: 12-17)
What was Eli’s reaction to the crimes of his sons?
22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. (1 Samuel 2: 22-25)
Well Eli did rebuke them but that’s it. The Lord God expected Eli to restrain his sons but then Eli didn’t stop them from continuing in their evil. Though he knew his sons had immoral affairs with women he didn’t really do anything that would have made an effective stop to their wickedness.
Was Samuel the only one who received the prophecy of judgment against Eli’s family?
Samuel was never the only one in this matter. There’s another prophet mentioned in 1 Samuel 2:27-36 who is not identified by name but only as a man of God. He declared by the Lord God that Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas shall both die on the same day as a sign to Eli for their wickedness.
What happened to Eli and his family after receiving the prophecy from Samuel?
10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died. (1 Samuel 4:10-11)
When Eli asked the man of Benjamin who ran from the battle with the Philistines, he was already in great fear about the Ark. On hearing of the capture of the Ark of God, Eli the priest fell backward and died.
17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years. (1 Samuel 4: 17-18)
The wife of Phinehas and their little baby son then had much grief to bear. In fact she lost the happiness of the birth of their child and named the baby with such a name which only reflected sorrow due to departure of the glory of God.
19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
What is the main lesson we can learn here?
Correct others before they cause your downfall especially if they are associated with you by way of authority, ministry, family, friendship, mentoring or any other way in which you might be directly accountable for their actions. Do what is right first instead of focusing on methodology. Remember that though you are to be nice and polite, you can’t let your goodness turn a blind eye to those who are being oppressed because you don’t want to take decisive action. I will give you some examples of how this works so that there’s nothing too ambiguous in this regard.
- Suppose you are a manager at work and your deputy misuses his powers and demands bribes from his colleagues to not be a roadblock to their careers and you decided to not stop him despite being aware of this. By stop him, I mean not a mere rebuke but actually stopping him from taking bribes or just removing him. So because you don’t stop him, the matter goes out to the police who then arrest you along with your subordinate as they find it hard to believe that you didn’t try to stop him. This makes the police assume you too were the partner in crime.
- Another example, you are a leader to a team of preachers. One of your preachers is preaching heresy instead of the true Gospel but he gets in a lot of offerings every time he preaches. You feel it’s not good to tell him anything as it may ‘offend’ him. Besides you assume that next time you shall preach another sermon which counters his heresy to the congregation maybe a month later and you secretly hope that the people didn’t actually believe his falsehood. Then goes a complaint to the main overseeing authority in your country and all hell breaks loose. The corrupt preacher is sacked, named and shamed. His heresy is exposed. But so are you in trouble too. You asked to either resign from your church ministry office or face an inquiry which will surely defame you so badly that you won’t stand a chance to fight back.
- A woman loves her daughter a lot and takes it to the extreme by deciding to let her daughter do anything and everything with no questions asked. While her daughter is into immoral relations with a married man, her mother does nothing to stop her. Things go out in public and the married man’s wife now decides to file a lawsuit against her husband. She ends up dragging the girl’s mom into court as well and ends up ruining their reputations too.
What else can we understand in this regard?
- Rebuking and restraining don’t always mean the same thing.
- In regards to ministry there’s no compromise allowed about the things of God.
- Do not permit sexual immorality anywhere that you can stop it legally.
- Prophetic warnings are not to be taken lightly.
- Children can receive prophecy but their claims too need to be examined.
- You are responsible for those under your authority.
- Family members don’t just need right example from you, they too need to act right.
- Do not be presumptuous of yourself nor others.
- Never let your emotions make the facts look muddied.
- When good works and bad works mix, the bad works stand out unless there’s repentance.
- God won’t give you a prophecy without an explanation or justification.
- Never think any object is greater than the word of God to give you victory.